LOS ANGELES -- A day after his Triple-A Portland Beavers completed the season, their manager, Randy Ready, arrived at Dodger Stadium a bit unsure of what his duties will be during the month of September. But Ready was certainly no stranger inside a clubhouse that resembled more the one that he presided in the Rose City than the one the Padres broke camp with in March at the end of Spring Training. In the last two days alone, the Padres -- taking full advantage of the Sept. 1 expansion of the roster that allows up to 40 players -- have added four players from Portland, including catcher Luke Carlin and outfielder Chip Ambres on Tuesday.
The Beavers finished the regular season with a 70-74 record, though they played better in the second half of the season once several of the first-year Triple-A players on the roster became more acclimated to an advanced level of play, including pitchers Wade LeBlanc and Josh Geer and second baseman Matt Antonelli. "It was tough for them. It was the first time they played against guys with Major League experience," Ready said of the handful of players who made the jump from Double-A San Antonio and struggled initially, like left fielder Chase Headley and catcher Nick Hundley. "In April and May, those rosters were filled with guys with Major League experience," Ready said. "We played a club that had 18 guys with Major League experience out of 24 guys. ... These guys were in Major League-caliber games for the first time." Headley was a good example of this, as he hit .242 in April before making the necessary adjustments at the plate to how pitchers who going after him. He hit .357 in May and, a month later in June, found himself with the Padres for good. LeBlanc finished fast as well, allowing one run or less in six of his final eight starts. He finished the season 11-9 with a 5.32 ERA and a keen sense of appreciation for what he went through in April (9.27 ERA) and May (6.56). "If you look at it as a failure, you won't make it through the season," LeBlanc said. "I looked at it as if that struggle will help me in the long run." All told, the Beavers went through 37 different pitchers and 27 position players, though that's not uncommon for a Triple-A team, especially one with a parent club playing 30 games under .500. "That's the business that we're in," Ready said. "We're there to support the big club any way we can. The toughest challenge is try to create stability, to keep that environment as stable as they can. "If you go back to square one, it's unfortunate the big club didn't get off to a great start, which is why we had the movement we had. That's just the opportunity for these guys to get their feet wet at this level, to see if they can play at this level."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.